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Digital Guide to Moth Identification

Larvae of North American Lepidoptera

Display of caterpillar photographs has always lagged behind those of living moths and spread specimens. We hope to pay more attention to them in the future, and this menu is a start in that direction.

The largest collection of caterpillar photographs is to be found at BugGuide.Net and many of the photos here at MPG came originally from there. The fine field guide by Dave Wagner on the Caterpillars of Eastern North America is the main published work in this area. See the Books Page for USDA Forest Service websites and free publications for some of the moths from Appalachian forests and the Pacific Northwest.

Because it is difficult for most people to differentiate between the larvae of moths, butterflies, and other non-lepidopteran orders, we will show many non-lep forms and unidentified caterpillars here. If you are able to positively identify some of these your emails will be most welcome.

It is possible for anyone to gain enjoyment by finding caterpillars to rear through their late instar stages, pupation and eclosure as adults. Your photo series of their life stages will be very welcome here.

Orgyia vetusta by Hartmut Wisch - California

Correspondence may be directed to John and Jane Balaban, Associate Editors for Larvae.

The Collection

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  • 0001-3863   : Micros through Tortricidae
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  • 3846-6255   : Butterflies - Drepanidae
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  • 7649-7894   : Epiplemidae - Sphingidae
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  • 7895-8321   : Notodontidae - Lymantriidae
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  • 8322-9299   : Noctuidae (1)
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  • 9300-11233 : Noctuidae (2)
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  • 16000........ : Unidentified & Non-lep Larvae
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    LarvaeIndex.shtml -- 05/01/2012